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AT THE RIVER
The late model black BMW had been on the road for more than an hour. Its driver had taken the turn-off from I-70 at Frederick, heading southwest on Route 340 toward West Virginia. It was dark, the traffic sparse for the time of night, around 10 P.M. The BMW crossed the bridge over the Potomac River just east of Harpers Ferry, on the way to the racetrack and slot machine emporium at Charles Town. There, where three different states had their borders within a minute-and-a-half, the BMW’s driver decided to stop and do what she had come to do. Just over the bridge over the river, within eyesight of where John Brown and Stonewall Jackson had once made the name of Harpers Ferry known to everyone in America nearly a century-and-a-half before, she pulled off the highway into a deserted wayside. There she turned off her engine and lights, and got ready to undertake the biggest gamble of her life.
At length, she got out of the car, then opened the back door. The old packing trunk was heavy—it weighed almost as much as she did. Somehow, though, she got it out. It fell to the dirt with a heavy thud. Fortunately, it had wheels along one side of its bottom. She dragged it toward the edge of the wayside, where there was an enclosed trash container. The wheels of the trunk left clear tracks in the dirt. She left it next to the trash can.
It was now just another piece of the past, something that, once out of sight, would be out of mind. It was the way she thought about life in general—always think ahead. Dwelling on the old never did anyone any good. She got back into the BMW and drove away, old anxieties floating away to make room for new ones that would soon settle in. But at the time, they were little worries, not big ones, and they were easier to tolerate than those that had chafed her too long to be borne. Out with the old, in with the new—that was the way to survive. Like Scarlett O’Hara, for Nancy Jean Sweitzer, tomorrow was always another day.
But in reality, not fiction, time has a way of catching up with everyone.